Vatican News
A worker making a delivery amid the Covid-19 pandemic in London A worker making a delivery amid the Covid-19 pandemic in London 

UK Bishops call for urgent action plan to prevent racial inequality amid Covid-19

The President of the Office for Migration Policy of the English and Welsh Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Paul McAleenan, voices concern about the disproportional effect of Covid-19 on ethnic minorities.

By Vatican News

The results of a recent survey carried out by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reveal a significant disproportion in the number of deaths due to coronavirus among ethnic minorities when compared to their number in the total population of the UK.

In light of this, the UK government launched an official inquiry last month to investigate the disproportionate effect of Covid-19 on people with black and minority ethnic backgrounds. 

Statistics

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that black males in England and Wales are 4.2 times more likely to die from coronavirus than white males. Black females are also 4.3 times more likely than their white counterparts. Other ethnic groups also face a disproportionately high risk of death.

Separate surveys have shown that approximately 68% of all National Health Service (NHS) and social care staff that died from Covid-19 are from Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. This is despite BAME workers making up 44% of NHS medical staff.

According to the Catholic Association for Racial Justice (CARJ), the factors that affect the ethnic minorities include poverty, employment and housing conditions among others. 

This is further pronounced with the increased numbers of workers from ethnic minorities in essential services like social care, transportation, healthcare and caregiving. 

Appeal

Bishop Paul McAleenan, the President of the Office for Migration Policy of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, welcomed the news of the inquiry. He however noted that an inquiry alone is not enough. 

“The government needs urgently to tackle the known structural inequalities that have left some communities paying such a high price,” he said. “We all have a responsibility to address the long-standing issue of racial inequality in our society that this health crisis has brought to light. 

The Catholic Association for Racial Justice is also calling for the creation of an action plan to ensure the provision of support for the BAME communities. The association appeals for priority to be given to combating the causes of inequality such as education, income, housing and employment. 

21 May 2020, 12:38